Volume 1, Chapter 3

Synopsis of Volume 1, Chapter 3

Mr. Shepherd introduces the possibility that, due to the recent peace between France and England, Kellynch Hall may be let to a naval officer on leave. Sir Walter is initially cool to the idea. As Mr. Shepherd predicted, an admiral (Admiral Croft) hears of the availability of Kellynch Hall and wishes, with his wife, to become its tenant. Mr. Shepherd's ensuing arguments, with the help of Anne and Mrs. Clay, persuade Sir Walter that Admiral and Mrs. Croft will make very fitting tenants. Elizabeth concurs and it is decided. The chapter concludes with a revelation that the conversation Anne has been observing has caused her a private flash of emotion. It ends with the suggestion that the new tenants will bring a man with them whom she has an interest in seeing.

Commentary on Volume 1, Chapter 3

This chapter introduces the idea that it is no longer only the nobility who have social status. The discussion of naval officers demonstrates that professional people who work hard and increase their wealth can advance socially.

Battle of WaterlooThis peace will be turning all our rich naval officers ashore Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo on June 18, 1815, and in the ensuing peace between France and Britain, the naval officers returned home.

Many a noble fortune has been made during the war Royal Navy prize money was awarded for capturing enemy ships. The higher ranking officers got the largest share, while the crew shared the rest.

gentlemen of the navy are well to deal with This is the first of many positive remarks about the navy, which help pave the way to Sir Walter's eventual acceptance of a navy man as his tenant.

Mr. Shepherd laughed, as he knew he must This is judicious laughter: Mr. Shepherd has a politic sense of his lowly position as a lawyer in society.

consequence has its tax Maintaining one's social status had hidden costs, such as being in the public eye. Mr. Shepherd presents this as a disadvantage, although fully aware that it will appeal to Sir Walter's vanity.

I am not fond of the idea of my shrubberies being always approachable; and I should recommend Miss Elliot to be on her guard with respect to her flower-garden The narrator is subtly mocking Sir Walter for responding to Mrs. Clay with anxiety about the fate of his flower gardens, when what he and Elizabeth ought really to be on their guard against is Mrs. Clay herself.

The navy, I think who have done so much for us, have at least an equal claim … for all the privileges that any home can give To hear Anne's voice after she has been so silent is notable, and hints that her admiration for the navy will be significant.

bringing persons of obscure birth into undue distinction … and secondly, as it cuts up a man's youth and vigour most horribly … It is a pity they are not knocked on the head at once In this shocking conclusion to his argument, Sir Walter reveals his superficiality as he brushes aside the more compelling reasons why the navy is a profession to be admired, stating that it interferes with his sole concerns in life: beauty and noble birth.

Battle of TrafalgarTrafalgar The Battle of Trafalgar (1805) was won by the British under the direction of Admiral Lord Nelson, against the combined French and Spanish forces. It was the most important British victory in the Napoleonic Wars.

rear admiral of the white A rear admiral is below an admiral and a vice-admiral and commanded the rear of the fleet. The white is a mid-tier squadron, the top being the red, and the bottom the blue.

Deputation Commission. As tenant of Kellynch Hall, Admiral Croft is given the right to hunt on the estate.

A very well-spoken, genteel, shrewd lady, she seemed to be, and seemed more conversant with business Mr. Shepherd's list of Mrs. Croft's attributes and abilities suggests that women are capable of a greater role in society than the more traditional one indicated by his statement about childless female tenants.

Mr. Wentworth, the curate of Monkford … was a nobody This scathing remark about Mr. Wentworth is Sir Walter's second dig at the curacy. At this point, Sir Walter doesn't bother to conceal his aversion to them. This unseemly comment is an improper and inappropriate expression of his own superior social position. Curates did not have the social standing or income of a parish priest, yet usually did much of the work.

An admiral speaks his own consequence, and, at the same time, can never make a baronet look small Sir Walter thinks the title of Admiral more impressive than an ordinary ‘Mr.', and yet it poses none of the threat to his own social standing that an inherited title might.

Nothing could be done without a reference to Elizabeth Elizabeth's opinion plays a significant role in Sir Walter's decision-making, as the female ‘head' of the household now her mother is dead.

Investigating Volume 1, Chapter 3
  • Mr. Shepherd makes skilful use of rhetoric to successfully advance his plan for Sir Walter. Is he really the ‘cautious' lawyer we are led to believe?
  • Notice which characters hold the naval profession in high esteem and which don't.
    • How does this influence the reader's perception of this change in the social hierarchy?
  • What emboldens Anne to make the comment on the claim of sailors?
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